Public Speaking – Preparing Your Introduction

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The objective of the introduction is to get the attention of the audience and set the scene for the body of the speech.

The form of the introduction will differ from speech to speech dependent to a great extent upon the amount and what, is needed to get the audience ready for what is to follow.

The most common components used in an introduction are;

Getting Attention

It is usual to use a deliberate method to gain the audience’s attention. There are many ways to do this – e.g. a shocking statement, a question, a joke is told, and a human interest story is told that is related to the rest of the speech. The attention grabbers that are able to be used are only limited by your creativity.


The introduction is a great place to include a benefit statement. An audience will listen if they understand it will be worthwhile to them e.g. if they can see by listening they will make more money, have better health, be able to protect their property.


The preview section is used in the introduction to outline the main points that will follow – also known as an agenda. However, in the case of a hostile crowd it may be wise to avoid or delay this component.

There are 2 overall points to consider when preparing an introduction:

1) Length – The introduction should be long enough to gain the audience’s attention and set up the rest of the speech. Otherwise the audience will be thinking “why don’t they get to the speech?” or worse.
2) Relevant – the introduction should be relevant to the speech and not mislead or contradict the rest of the speech.

In summary the introduction gets the audience’s attention, lets them know what’s in it for me, and what’s in store.

In my next post I will discuss the conclusion and after that I will discuss the main body of the speech.

For more tips on public speaking and conversation please visit http://www.SelfConfidentSpeaking for a free preview of The Art of GreatConversation.

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